Since its early days Gottex has enjoyed a reputation for luxury. Its swimsuits have been worn by Princess Diana, Queen Sofia of Spain and Brooke Shields among other leading figures.
Founder Lea Gottlieb was an innovator who brought swimwear and beachwear into the realm of high fashion. Time magazine dedicated an article to her as one of the leading swimsuit makers in the world and she was recognized as the Grand Dame of Israeli Fashion. A Hungarian Jew who survived the German occupation and emigrated with her family to Israel after WWII, she and her husband turned to swimwear after an initial venture making raincoats. She sold her wedding ring to raise capital and in 1956 launched Gottex (a combination of Gottlieb and textiles) in a factory in Tel Aviv.
Gottlieb’s designs were inspired by local patterns and Middle Eastern light and colours. The collections often featured birds, waves and floral motifs, which Gottlieb said were a tribute to the occasions she would hide in a bouquet of flowers to avoid being recognized as a Jew while passing through checkpoints in occupied Hungary.